Cheney drops Senate bid

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January 6, 2014

By Megan Busse

CHEYENNE, Wyoming: Liz Cheney has dropped her bid for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming eight months before the primary. On January 6, 2014, Cheney announced she was ending her campaign, citing a family health issue. She said, "Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign. My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign, and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority. As a mother and a patriot, I know that the work of defending freedom and protecting liberty must continue for each generation. Though this campaign stops today, my commitment to keep fighting with you and your families for the fundamental values that have made this nation and Wyoming great will never stop."

Cheney was challenging popular incumbent Mike Enzi in the Republican primary. Her run had been rife with controversy from the very beginning. Cheney had lived in Wyoming less than a year before announcing her run. She spent much of her campaign emphasizing her family's ties to Wyoming in an effort to shed the "carpetbagger" label some were applying to her.[1]

Cheney's stance on gay marriage also came up several different times in her campaign, causing a family rift between her and her sister, Mary. Mary Cheney is gay and married her partner in 2012. Mary and her wife, Heather Poe, frequently spoke out against Liz's anti-gay marriage stance.[2] Eventually, their parents, Dick and Lynne, released a statement in December 2013. Dick Cheney said, "We were surprised that there was an attack launched against Liz on Facebook, and wished it hadn’t happened. It’s always been dealt with within the context of the family, and frankly, that’s our preference." Cheney said he had no further comment on the matter.[3]

In addition to the controversy, Cheney's polling numbers were weak. A July 17-18, 2013 poll conducted by Harper Polling, found that Wyoming Republican voters favored Mike Enzi 55% to Cheney's 21%.[4] The poll found that both candidates had near universal name recognition in the state. It also indicated Cheney faced an uphill battle for the seat, as incumbent Mike Enzi had a 73% approval rating.[4] Of those polled, 38% said that they had heard of Cheney, but had no opinion of her.[4]

As of January 6, 2014, Enzi is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

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